Winter Weather Advisory today, Rain this week, and a Look at Climate Change

What looked to be a promising week for snow lovers has fallen off the table completely.  While there will be some snowflakes flying today and tonight it will not be the event I envisioned several days ago.  The National Weather Service in Taunton has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Worcester County, Northwest Middlesex County, Franklin County, and Hampshire County in Massachusetts.
From NWS Taunton
A coastal flood statement has been issued for much of the MA shoreline.  Minor coastal flooding is likely in areas prone to splash over.  The main concern today and tonight will be freezing rain.  A inch or two of snow is possible especially north of Worcester.  Southwest NH will pick up a little more.  Roads that are not treated will be slippery tomorrow.  After this first storm guidance keeps up with an active pattern.  A rain storm Tuesday and another Friday will impact Southern New England.

Storm Number 1
Snow begins to move in around 3 PM.  Will be change over to a mix in the early evening and eventually all rain.  The Pats should place in mostly rain tonight which is too bad; they are unstoppable when it snows.  The rain, sleet, and snow move out by Monday afternoon but there isn't much time before storm number 2 moves in with wind and rain.  One wild card is that there is cold air at the surface which is of course more dense than warmer air.  Models often move the cold air out to quickly and thus snowfall amounts are underdone.  However in this situation there isn't a northerly wind locking in the Canadian cold so I am not expecting this.

Storm Number 2
Heavy rain to move into Southern New England overnight Monday into Tuesday morning.  Low pressure will track into New England or just to the west of us leaving Southern New England in the warm sector of the storm.  
Euro model early Tuesday morning- image credit Dr Ryan Maue and Weatherbell
Temperatures will be above average for mid December.  Here is the EURO ensemble mean temperature forecast Tuesday afternoon followed by the American GFS operational forecast
EPS ensemble prediction forecast
Both forecasts for 1 PM Tuesday
Image credits to Dr. Ryan Maue and weatherbell
Several inches of rain are forecast to fall by the end of the week.  I am not ruling out some snow at the end of the Friday system and it is several days away so for now I'll show the HPC 5 day rainfall totals
Pacific Northwest and the Eastern Half of the country are being pounded
It is interesting to contrast this with the current US Drought Monitor which was updated on 12/11/12
From the CPC
The areas that need the rain are not getting it, save for the Southeast.  Unfortunately this will continue for most of the decade because of the Cold PDO/Warm AMO combination.  Here is a look at the averaged December to February Palmer Drought Severity Index from 1950-59

Note- rest of discussion is on climate
From NOAA Earth Physical Sciences Lab
Not every winter featured these conditions, but on average there was more drought than excess rain in the center of the country.  Here are a few years from the 50's and their summers

Summer 52
Winter 52-53
widespread drought
Summer 54
More drought for much of country
Winter 54-55
Drought in the Midwest isn't all that unprecedented during Warm AMO/Cold PDO
Keeping those images in mind lets look at 2011 and 2012

Summer 2011
Like Summer 52 the drought began in the south
Winter 11-12
Not much of a rebound for the south
Summer 2012
Very hot and dry summer
It will be widely reported in the coming days that 2012 was the hottest year on record.  It may very well be in the United States but the United States is a tiny fraction of the Earth's surface.  The Earth is running only 0.047 degrees C above normal using the 1981-2010 baseline
From Dr. Ryan Maue and Weatherbell
Its suppose to be called Global Warming right? The United States is emitting co2 at a 20 year low.  China is emitting the most co2 in the world yet it and India are below average for the year while the United States is above average.  Also as warm as March 2012 was in the United States the world was below average during that time.
March 2012 Temperature anomalies 
World temps -0.106 during March.  Meanwhile the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has just been leaked and FINALLY  acknowledges that the sun is playing a far bigger role than these "climate scientists" previously estimated.  I've always believed in climate change, just not that co2 is causing it.  There is a balance between the sun's energy output, the strength of the earths magnetic field, and ocean cycles that determine whether or not the earth is in a warm phase or a cooling phase.

As a meteorologist my first love is Hurricanes.  Hurricane Edouard is the storm that sparked my fascination with the wild ocean storms and I religiously followed every storm as a child.  There was no doubt what I wanted to study in college and I decided on Umass-Lowell to study Atmospheric Science.  Lowell is a religious believer in man made climate change yet the school taught me how to think like a scientist and not a sheep.  I studied North Atlantic Hurricane frequency as a senior and it was at that point I learned about ocean cycles.  I learned about the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and how important the phase of these oscillations is to the earths climate.  The PDO has shown a clear tendency to favor El Nino's and thus a warmer earth in its positive phase and La Nina's and a colder earth in its negative phase.

This led to the connection between the 1950's and the 2010's.  The PDO flipped in 1946 and 2007.  The AMO flipped in 1925 to positive and again in 1995.  New York City has been in the cross hairs of two hurricanes the past two years.  Is this unusual? NO!
MAJOR HURRICANES making landfall in 1950's
More storms will hit the East Coast in the coming decade.  Lets go to tornadoes for a moment.  We are beginning to enter a more active tornado period as the Pacific turns cold and allows more arctic surges to interact with the warm tropical moisture of the Gulf of Mexico
Trend is down, but will pick back up
The 1970's featured some extremely destructive tornadoes.  We saw the increase begin in 2011 and it will continue to increase for the next 20 years or so.  The two most notable New England tornadoes are the EF-4 Worcester tornado of 1953 and the EF-3 borderline EF-4 Springfield tornado of 2011.  Just another connection from the 1950's to the 2010's.  Anyway that is all for now, have a good Sunday and go Pats.


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